By 1983, David's Chevy Malibu was eight years old. With one
child and a second on the way, we needed something more economical
while still having some room. Although Marcia now had her
full-time teaching job in Gouverneur, we decided to get a used car
to replace the Chevy.
We found this Datsun 510 wagon for sale by an individual in
Massena. Although a compact, the 510 was the top of the
Datsun line at that time. What memory there is of it tells
us that it had a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder with a 5 speed floor
David drove this car for four years and our most vivid memory of it
was from a camping trip. We towed a pop-up camper with this
for at least three summers. In retrospect, that probably
wasn't a good idea, but it worked at the time. For a week in
July 1986, David did an teacher/industry exchange thing at IBM
corporate headquarters in Albany, New York.
We stayed at a
nice little family run campground in Mechanicsburg, about 30
minutes up the Northway, I-87. We went there the week-end
before he was to start. As he went to set up the camper, he
realized that the hitch was loose on the back of the car. He
soon realized that it wasn't the hitch but the bumper. The
bumper attached to the car with two brackets, each held on with
four bolts. Two of the bolts on each side had rusted off and
the other two weren't far behind.
The Datsun dealer in Albany couldn't get the parts for over a
week. We called Parkview Auto in Watertown where our good
friend Paul Ferry was Service Manager. He could have the
parts in two days. We made arrangements with the campground
owner to leave the camper there when we left Friday night.
When we got home, Marcia's dad offered the use of his Chevy
pick-up to go back and get the camper. We drove back down
Saturday and retrieved it. There was no electrical hook-up
on the truck but we weren't long coming home. That 3/4 ton
diesel didn't even know the camper was there! Better yet, we
made the trip at 24 MPG. This little Datsun got over 30 on
the road, but only about 14 when you hitched onto the
camper. It was this experience that made us realize that
maybe it was in our best interest to get a truck for towing and
camping. We made that purchase the next summer.